Google has decided to push back the launch of their latest algorithm update from May to mid-June 2021. This update will be focusing on Page Experience.
This extension gives site users an additional month to prepare. So, if you have not already looked into it, now is definitely the time to do so.
So, what is Page Experience? It is all about the experience users have when they visit and interact with your website. Do your pages load quickly? Is your Website Secure? Do you have relevant, useful content available? These factors and more all make up a good user experience.
Essentially, the idea is that those with a positive page experience will see favourable results in the Search Engine Rankings and those without will not. Of course, when it comes to algorithm updates it is never quite that Black and White but it is still important that you look to get your website in the best position possible before the update rolls out.
With this in mind, we have put together a list of simple checks you can make to ensure your website meets the current criteria for a user-friendly website.
Core Web Vitals: Introduced last year, Google’s Core Web Vitals are a set of benchmarks for your website that focus on three main areas: LCP (Largest Contentful Paint), FID (First Input Delay), and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). These metrics aim to help improve loading, interactivity, and visual stability on your Website. By working to improve your scores on all three of these areas you will be seen favourably by Google and also find more users remaining and converting on your website.
Page Speed: Fast page loading speeds mean that people get the information that they want quickly. It is proven that users will typically stay on a website for longer, bounce off less, and convert more often if the page speed is good. A slow website can be frustrating for users to navigate meaning they often bounce off of your site in favour of another. This not only means a loss of potential conversions for you but also means Google often deciding to rank those other, faster pages above your own.
HTTPS / Secure Sites: In 2017 Google told site owners that they would begin flagging websites that did not have an SSL Certificate on the site as ‘Not Secure’. An SSL Certificate is a technology used to protect any sensitive data submitted to your site. Once an SSL Certificate is added the application protocol (HTTP) will change to HTTPS. Those with HTTPS will often find a Lock symbol appearing next to their domain in the browser, signalling to users that the site is safe to use.
With online safety a common concern, an SSL Certificate is great for a user’s experience as it tells them that your website is safe for them to use.
To learn more about this read SiteWizard’s blog here.
Mobile-Friendly: Is your website Mobile friendly? It most definitely should be. Mobile and Tablet browsing is fast becoming the preferred way to navigate the internet and with a large portion of users browsing your website this way, it is important that your site adapts perfectly to these platforms.
Trying to navigate a website that does not fit to your mobile screen with buttons that are too difficult to press is going to be a frustrating task and this will then lead to users bouncing off of your website and onto someone else’s.
Being Mobile-Friendly is also a current ranking factor. What this means is that Google expects you to have this in place in order to rank well on its Search Engine. There is also the fact that Mobile-first Indexing is in effect, meaning Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking.
Site Usability: How easy is it to use your website? Look at it from the perspective of a potential client or customer. Can they find your products easily? Is it a simple process to check out? Is there enough information about your company available for someone to decide that you are the one for them? All of these things add up to a good user experience and ultimately, more conversions. Things like Pop-ups, broken links, messy layouts, broken buttons, and poor product images are all things that can lead to a user wanting to leave your website.
Try to create a streamlined website that makes interacting with your brand simple.
Content: Creating good content is an incredibly important step to getting your pages to rank well on Google. Google has made it clear that websites with useful, relevant content will be placed above those with little to no information. Thin or blank pages will find themselves struggling to rank against rich, informative ones. Be sure to include plenty of information about your services, products, or company that users will find beneficial.
SiteWizard have written a blog all about how to create great content which you can find here.
With the Google Update approaching fast the best course of action is to evaluate your website thoroughly and set upon improving these integral elements quickly so that you will be in a good position once the rollout begins.